Setting sail at sea was never something I thought would do… but when opportunities present themselves I’m always keen to say “yes” and I jumped at this chance…
And now I’m writing about our incredible trip sailing around the Greek islands
Little did I know that this would be a “working holiday” and we would actually be DOING the sailing. I started to get wind of it when the suggested packing list came through from our friends and included “sailing gloves” Where on earth do you even get such things? (Apparently at Central Boating – a sailing shop at 85 Bree Street!)
A few days into our trip found us positioned at Hydra and ready to take on the Aegean sea – we would be sailing for the better part of the day as a 6 hour sail time lay between us and the true Cyclades islands – Kythnos being our nearest.
And so we set sail – and what a revelation.
In no time at all a whole day at sea sailed by…. I had though 7 hours on a boat might get tiresome. Believe me it didn’t!
The seas were calm and deep, deep blue, the wind was an even speed and the sun gently warmed our bodies.
We took turns at the helm steering the yacht on it’s course, learnt to navigate, tack, put the sails up and then take them down, we motor sailed for a while, checked our course, lay on the stern reading, watched the other white sails on the horizon, kept a lookout for dolphins, went down below to the galley to make lunch and then enjoyed it on deck under the awning. It was a good, relaxing day that sold me once more on this mode of travel. Slow and steady…. relaxing but interspersed with challenging moments that get your adrenalin pumping. I can totally see why people sell up and set sail. It’s a mesmerising, addictive way of seeing the world.
After our full day at sea we finally approached Merichas port for the night on Kythnos island… and following our celebratory beer for being back on dry land at the tavern located spitting distance from our berth, Brad and I headed off into the hills on a hired scooter.
This was probably my most memorable moment of the entire trip!
As the sun starting sinking we sped up the winding road out of the port, up and over the hills covered with wild flowers, terraces and the occasional tiny white church or shrine.
Our mission was to make it to the top of the island to watch the sunset… and time was ticking!
But there were too many beautiful views to miss and so we stopped to enjoy the silence and snap a few photos… only to discover that when you stop you see and hear so much more than whizzing by on a scooter.
Tinkling bells and the bleating calls of a few roaming goats in the hills above us were the sounds of Kythnos.
At the top we found the most perfect little Greek church – white washed stone walls and a bright blue door – the colour of Greece – so we perched here and watched the sun sink from sight before heading back down to join our party in the port… catching all the gorgeous views again on the way back down!
After returning our scooter and helmets to the rental spot right opposite the yacht basin, we set off to explore the tiny town of Merichas in the other direction, with a mission to find somewhere for supper. Well, I let the others do the research and I spent most of the time snapping pics of the beautiful evening and Greek life going on about us…
Bright and early the next morning we woke with one mission in mind – to get back on the scooter and explore more of Kythnos!
We’d planned ahead the previous night and arranged with the scooter rental company to allow us access to their rides as early as possible so we could take advantage of our short morning before setting sail again at around 11.
As always, waking early was totally worth it…. the light was crisp and clear and Greece never looked more alive!
The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being. – Henry Miller
We joined up with Malcolm and Raisa (on a quad bike) and scootered off to the other side of the island via the winding roads, taking in the views on every side.
The concept of living on an island is quite something – esp one as small as this – when you can actually see from one side of the island to the other at certain high points….
We’d read about thermal hot springs that meet the sea and our mission for the morning was to locate the town of Loutra and this legendary hot springs… and so we did. To be honest it wasn’t too hard. The town was tiny!
Signage pointed us to a rock pool on the one end of the beach… we stripped down to our swimsuits and stepped in, only to jump straight out again. The water was BOILING hot! Such a bizarre experience – expecting freezing cold sea water and discovering it’s too hot to swim in!
We tentatively made our way around to the other side – the end where the sea water met the thermal water – and tried again! This time creating a bank of sand between us and the boiling hot water bubbling down the stone canal and into the pool. As we lounged around in the mini pool it actually started to rain, but that didn’t deter us, we wanted to reap all the health benefits of the thermal experience and so continued to laze around in the water, watching our bodies turn bright pink from the heat!
Back on the scooter and we headed back up the road planning to make our way to the sandbar beach, but we first took a slight detour to briefly explore the main town, located at the highest point, also known as Kithnos!
I loved wandering the flagstoned streets set aside for pedestrians only and spotting signs of local life taking place, including the local fishmonger flogging is wares for the day! This certainly is a simple life that holds huge appeal. Writing this now amidst the chaos that is the build up to Christmas of Westernized society I can totally see why the dream for many is to escape to a quiet village located off the beaten track on an island in Greece!!!
Our rental time on the scooters was limited, and our planned departure time was inching every closer, so we set off again. Scootering around the island was surely the very best way to get to see so many more spots, but be warned, you need to have a motorcycle license in this part of the world if you wish to rent a scooter. Fortunately Brad does have one, but our friend Raisa, who’s certainly very capable, wasn’t able to rent one as her licence didn’t specify motorcycles!!
I loved being on the back of the scooter, flying around the bends, wind whipping in my hair. One of my other favourite travel memories of our travels pre-kids was when we hired a scooter on the island of Capri and did something very similar – there is something very exhilarating about this form of travel, well, on a rather deserted island… I’m sure it’s quite a different experience on the streets of a huge Asian metropolis where they all line up at the ready and then weave through the streets with reckless abandon or piled high with goods, animals or even entire extended families!!
When you Google Kythnos Island (or Kithnos) you’ll find that the island is most renowned for its’ iconic sandbar beach… and we didn’t want to miss this so we made it our mission to squeeze in a visit on our way back to the boat.
And then it was time to return the scooters and restock our kitchen cupboards with supplies for the next few days – not knowing when next we would be close enough to a supermarket!
I did my bit contributing to the shopping list and left the rest to finish up while I slowly meandered back to the boat snapping a few last pics of Kythnos as the first grey storm clouds of our trip rolled in!
In Athens but keen to get a taste of the Greek island life?
Book this day trip to Kythnos from Athens.
If you enjoyed this trip around Kythnos island with me be sure to check out the rest of my Going Greek travel blog series where I share more about our sailing holiday around the blue and white islands of the Cyclades!
Once you’ve done so be sure to tell me which of the islands you’re most keen to visit based on my stories… or if you’ve been to any others on sailing trips of your own that you think I need to see next time 😉
If you enjoyed this post about Kythnos Island or want to re-read it another time please considering pinning it to Pinterest using the image below! Thanks
Images: Kathryn Rossiter